New book from NYT bestselling author Lewis Howes is now available!

New book from NYT bestselling author Lewis Howes is now available!


Jesse Itzler

Stop Being Comfortable

When you feel like you’ve reached your limit, you’re only 40% there.

How often do you listen to your body when it says, “I’m done?”

We get tired, our muscles get sore, so we throw in the towel.

We’re wired to stop every time we start to feel pain.

But if we ignore that, we can push ourselves to a new limit.

Unless you get uncomfortable, you won’t know what you’re really capable of.

That’s why I’m excited to revisit a conversation I had with a new friend who is always pushing himself to the next level: Jesse Itzler.

Jesse is ultramarathon runner who is also a bestselling author, award-winning rapper, and an original partner for ZICO coconut water. He is the co-founder of Marquis Jets and a co-owner of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks.

Jesse was able to take on everything in his life by putting himself first.

Like Jesse says in this episode, “So much of business is a reflection of you, and so many of us don’t invest in ourselves.”

Learn how to push yourself past your limit to achieve what you never thought possible on Episode 699.


“So many of our limitations are self-imposed.” @the100MileMan  

Some Questions I Ask:

In this episode, you will learn:

  • About the 40% Rule (1:42)
  • The one time Jesse reached his limit (3:20)
  • How Jesse gained control of his time (4:47)
  • Why Jesse sets aside 3 hours of his day for himself (5:34)
  • Plus much more…

Show Notes:

Connect with
Jesse Itzler

Transcript of this Episode

Lewis Howes:                 This is 5-Minute Friday!!

I’m so pumped for this episode, because it’s with my new friend, Jesse Itzler. Now, for those who don’t know who Jesse is, he’s an extremely impressive human being, an incredible entrepreneur. He is the original partner of ZICO Coconut Water, which is the coconut water I used to drink all the time and still do.

He is also the co-founder of Marquis Jets, he’s an Emmy Award winner, and a bestselling rapper, and also the co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks NBA Basketball team.

* * *

Jesse Itzler:                     We went down to the gym, five minutes into our 31 day journey, and he said, “I want to see how many pull-ups you can do.” So I said, “Alright.” I guess he wanted to get a level of where I was at, and I am not a strong guy.

So, I did maybe eight pull-ups and then I dropped down, and he said, “Alright, wait thirty seconds and do it again.” So I waited thirty seconds, got back up on the bar, I did, like, six. He said, “Alright, one more time.” And now I’m starting to feel it, I don’t even think I can get back up on the bar, and I get three, but three, like, kicking, and getting my chin over, whatever I could do to get over the bar.

So I said, “Alright, what’s next?” He said, “What’s next is, we’re going to stay here until you do a hundred more.

Lewis Howes:                 Oh, my gosh! So you did one at a time, essentially.

Jesse Itzler:                     Yeah, I mean, like, “Come on! That’s great on paper, but I physically can’t do a hundred more.” That was the start of many lessons that I learned, because I ended up doing it, one at a time. And what he taught me was that so many of our limitations are self imposed.

We set something up in our brain, we program our brain one way, and that’s our limit. And until we can get past that and see what we’re really made of and get uncomfortable and experience pain, you really don’t know what you’re capable of.

So that was a really good lesson for me. Every day was a lesson like that. He has this thing called The 40% Rule, which is, basically, when your brain tells you you’re done, you’re really only 40% done. But the reality is, we’re all wired so the first time we experience pain or discomfort, our brain sends a signal.

Lewis Howes:                 “Enough is enough.”

Jesse Itzler:                     It basically taps you on the shoulder because it doesn’t want you to get hurt. But if you ignore that tap on the shoulder, and keep going, you can do so much more. So that was a really good lesson. I kind of learned that with the pull-ups.

Lewis Howes:                 Yeah. But when is the limit the limit? Like, when should we do that 60% more or 40% more?

Jesse Itzler:                     You’ve got to find out.

Lewis Howes:                 Do you keep going until you break an arm, or until you go to the hospital?

Jesse Itzler:                     It depends on who you are.

Lewis Howes:                 Did you ever hit that limit where you had to go to the hospital?

Jesse Itzler:                     I hit the limit where I physically, just physically, could not go on. Like, we were doing push-ups one day and I just physically couldn’t get up.  You know, like, do another one. I just couldn’t do another one. My mind wanted to do another one, I just felt like I couldn’t do it.

Lewis Howes:                 Yes, but could he kind of read your energy and be, like, “Okay, now is enough.”?

Jesse Itzler:                     Well, we went into the steam room once, because some of it was just psychological stuff, so we went into the steam room one day and he maxed out on the steam, to the highest temperature, it was like, 130°, but it felt like it was 180°, because it had to be a broken thermostat! It was definitely higher than 130°!

Lewis Howes:                 How long were you in there for?

Jesse Itzler:                     Well, he said we were going to go in for thirty minutes with one glass of water, and at about nineteen minutes, he’s in the corner, literally whistling to himself, and I’m like, I said to him, “I got to get out of here.” He’s like, “We’ve got eleven more minutes,” and I’m like, “I gotta get out of here,” and before he could answer, I opened up the door.

And he came out and he grabbed me, and he goes, “Get back in!” And then he looked at me and he said, “You don’t look so good.” I said, “Man, I don’t feel so good, and I was kind of drifting into La La Land, and he said, “We’re boarding.”

I’m like, “We’re boarding?”

Lewis Howes:                 “We’re boarding?”

Jesse Itzler:                     “We’re boarding?!”

Lewis Howes:                 So he didn’t put you back in?

Jesse Itzler:                     He didn’t put me back in.

Lewis Howes:                 So he kind of saw the limit.

Jesse Itzler:                     He saw the limit. He also watched me sit in that chair for about three hours.

Lewis Howes:                 Afterwards, to recover, drinking coconut water.

Jesse Itzler:                     Yeah, yeah. I mean, we just ran! I was so out of whack from from everything we were doing, I wasn’t sleeiping, and then we went in this heat, I was dehydrated already, the steam, it was like, gross! I couldn’t breathe!

Lewis Howes:                 Plus, you’re also mentally – I’m assuming you didn’t put you life on pause during this?

Jesse Itzler:                     No, I was working full time!

Lewis Howes:                 Working full time on multiple businesses, right?

Jesse Itzler:                     Full twelve hour day, like, full, full, full time.

Lewis Howes:                 And then you’re full time with your son, right? And your wife?

Jesse Itzler:                     Oh, yeah. And travelling. And at the time, building a house. It was crazy! But, one lesson that he taught me, that was so important, was that I was able to take on all that he was putting on my plate, and do more without getting rid of anything.

Because, what I did was, he basically, after a week, looked at my life – he was like a life coach in a weird way – and said to me I was filling up my calendar with so much non-essential stuff.

Lewis Howes:                 Yes, non-productive things.

Jesse Itzler:                     Because I felt obligated to say yes to lunch meetings, we meet this guy for fifteen minutes, we take this call, and I just didn’t want it to be, like, “Oh, Jesse’s an asshole, he won’t to take this meeting,” so I’d just do it.

And I realised I was losing control of my own time. I lost control of my own time. So I started saying no to everything, cancelling everything that wasn’t going to really, that I didn’t need to do, that was other people putting demands on me.

And I really started focussing on me. I think so much of business is a reflection of you, and so many of us don’t invest in ourselves. So, I drew a little pie chart of my time, of how I want to spend my time, in my 24 hours. I broke it up into four different sections, and I make sure that, every day, I have three hours for me.

Because I think it is just so important that we put ourself first, and we really don’t. So many of us don’t. And you get these arrows shot at you every day; bills, problems, friends need this, work, the plumber has to come because this is broken, this thing won’t start. It’s like you’re always dodging arrows.

There’s no way around that, but if you don’t take the three hours to at least separate yourself from the constant attack of arrows…

Lewis Howes:                 You’ll go crazy, yeah.

Jesse Itzler:                     Bonkers!

Lewis Howes:                 Yeah, you’re really going to get out of shape, or feel like you don’t have any self worth, or something.

Jesse Itzler:                     Right.

* * *

Lewis Howes:                 Hey, guys! If you enjoyed this inspirational clip from a past episode of the show, then you’ll love the free book I’m giving away right now. It’s called The Millionaire Morning. It includes some of my best tips for starting off your day with a millionaire mindset. Get your free copy at and just pay shipping.

Again, check it out right now,

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